Student spotlight: Harper College Fall Art Exhibition 2019


Untitled by Margaret Griffin, whose work was featured in Harper’s Fall art exhibition.

Every semester Harper College’s Art Department hosts an exhibition featuring the best student work. This year’s “Special Projects” show features work from students Tina Figarelli and Margaret Griffin who created pieces that exceeded course expectations.

Figarelli and Griffin were chosen by the Art Department faculty to show and spotlight in the exhibition. We sat down and interviewed each artist to learn more about them and their work.


Tina Figarelli

Artist Tina Figarelli is attending Harper College for her Associates in Fine Arts, and is seeking a future in the arts. 

“I work as a bank teller and don’t want to do that for the rest of my life,” Figarelli shared. “I will be happy to wake up everyday and do art.”

Figarelli said that her Italian heritage has connected her deeply to painting. 

“I am deeply influenced by the old Italian masters and their delicate rendering of the human figure,” Figarelli shared. “The female form and its elegant contours inspires me and creates a sense of fluidity and narrative in each piece.”

“Each painting contains a small part of my life and family that I hold close to me and cherish, showing where i’ve come from and what I’ve become,” Figarelli expressed.

Figeralli’s piece called “Botanical” was inspired by the fact that women were historically not allowed to paint. 

Figarelli said that her pieces changed a lot during the process.

“I realized some ideas couldn’t be completed, so I had to simplify, but they came out better because it is easier to understand,” Figarelli said.

Figarelli’s pieces in the exhibition took 15-20 hours for paintings, and the five drawings took two hours each.

Figarelli would love to have her own art gallery in the future.

“My dream project is to have my own art exhibition or museum with all my work to share a story and have people view it,” Figarelli shared.                                                      

“I was really excited when I found out my art was going to be displayed in Harper, but also nervous that I had to stand in front of people and talk about my art versus them just being able to view it.” Figarelli exclaimed.

Favorite style of art: Movements, neoclassicism, mix of realism and mythology.

Favorite artist: French artist William Bouguereau.

Inspiration: Professor Hronek, who teaches the figure drawing class.



Margaret Griffin

At 19-years-old, Margaret Griffin had her work displayed in the Harper art gallery, Griffin has a great passion for art and shows her passion in her pieces.

Griffin is seeking a career in the art field hoping to create art for herself and others.

“Not to sound cliche, art chose me, I feel a deep connection,” Griffin shared on why she chose art.

Griffin’s work focuses on the exploration of the human figure and how it relates to basic design principles.

“Exploring different ways to approach fundamental aspects of art, including compositional design and color, I have chosen to use the human body, a fundamental aspect of life itself, as a vehicle for this exploration,” Griffin shared.

Griffin encounters many challenges when creating her pieces.

“I have a love/hate relationship with art, there will be times when I want to walk away but my love for art always brings me back,” Griffin jokes.

“It is a long process, thinking of an idea is probably the most difficult and the longest step in the process,” Griffin explained. “You start with a word or phrase then you just start sketching thoughts or anything that comes to mind.”

Griffin hopes to finish a “bronze sculpture” even though it will be her greatest challenge. 

“I am so thankful and blessed that I can create art everyday and take in the beauty of art,” Griffin shared.

Favorite style of art: Sculpting and line work

Favorite artist: Agon

Inspiration:  Italian mathematician Fibonacci